Toronto Star columnist Ian Urquhart has been huffing and puffing against electoral reform for months, often claiming all of our democratic problems can be solved in Ontario with a little parliamentary reform at Queen's Park.
Of course, such a suggestion has always seemed willfully naive. As most political observers have long noticed, power and control have evolved so tightly in the leaders' offices at Queen's Park. Despite the good intentions of some opposition leaders, substantial parliamentary reform at the provincial legislature remains a distant dream.
Mixed Member Proportional won't solve all of our democratic problems, but it sure will present the opportunity for greater party cooperation. Politicians will have to work together for the good of the province. The new system will ensure that any legislation that passes into law be supported by parties that represent over 50% of the people.
But Urquhart today, in his column attacking the Citizens' Assembly's recommendation for change, takes a different tact, alleging that fringe parties will hold the balance of power under the new system. While such a scenario has been rare in other jurisdictions with Mixed Member Proportional, that doesn't stop Urquhart (and sadly many other opponents of change) from making the suggestion. He makes no mention of parliamentary reform, but wrongly claims that supporters of voting reform are merely motivated by a desire to prevent another Mike Harris-style government.
Check out these excellent rebuttals to Urquhart's arguments here and here.
Coming soon to this site, our Top Five Reasons MMP is Better For Voters...